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Black Friday

R!$@#%#!$%!!!  Get me out of here!  They’re driving me crazy!  My mother is talking about wills and affadavits and family friends who are swindling each other over property.  I am being forced to watch The View and defend why I don’t like Joy Behar and why I DON’T CARE ABOUT BARBARA WALTERS’ INTERVIEW WITH OBAMA!  I DON’T CARE, I DON’T CARE, I DON’T CARE.

My sister is going to rescue me and take me to the YMCA for two hours of exercise followed by sauna.  Then I might hit Circuit City for a new LCD TV for my basement. Meanwhile, here is the latest installment of the “Who could have predicted?” series.  Today’s entry is from Paul Krugman in Lest We Forget.  Actually, it is The Shrill One who is saying No $#@% Sherlock to his buddies:

A few months ago I found myself at a meeting of economists and finance officials, discussing — what else? — the crisis. There was a lot of soul-searching going on. One senior policy maker asked, “Why didn’t we see this coming?”

There was, of course, only one thing to say in reply, so I said it: “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?”

Why did so many people insist that our financial system was “resilient,” as Alan Greenspan put it, when in 1998 the collapse of a single hedge fund, Long-Term Capital Management, temporarily paralyzed credit markets around the world?

Why did almost everyone believe in the omnipotence of the Federal Reserve when its counterpart, the Bank of Japan, spent a decade trying and failing to jump-start a stalled economy?

One answer to these questions is that nobody likes a party pooper. While the housing bubble was still inflating, lenders were making lots of money issuing mortgages to anyone who walked in the door; investment banks were making even more money repackaging those mortgages into shiny new securities; and money managers who booked big paper profits by buying those securities with borrowed funds looked like geniuses, and were paid accordingly. Who wanted to hear from dismal economists warning that the whole thing was, in effect, a giant Ponzi scheme?

Well, there were *some* people who saw it coming but they were laughed at.  Peter Schiff is the classic example.  Of course, he comes from the Austrian School of economics, which is as austere and uncompromising as it sounds.  For Schiff, it’s all laissez faire and all natural law all the time. It must be a legacy of the Hun invasion.  Who knows?  But this little clip that has gone viral is a thing of beauty:

Who’s laffing now?

Still, Krugman is indulging in a bit of wishful thinking of his own:

Now we’re in the midst of another crisis, the worst since the 1930s. For the moment, all eyes are on the immediate response to that crisis. Will the Fed’s ever more aggressive efforts to unfreeze the credit markets finally start getting somewhere? Will the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus turn output and employment around? (I’m still not sure, by the way, whether the economic team is thinking big enough.)

No, Paul, it will likely not be big enough.  *Someone* spent $600,000,000 to install Obama over our objections (BTW, Gov. Jon Corzine was a former CEO at Goldman-Sachs.  Fancy that!).  Obama has been running from The New Deal like it was the ebola virus.  But he sure has a lot of nice things to say about Reagan.  Ah, yes, the Reagan Era.  Those were the days.  I was a student, Pell grants dried up, tuition skyrocketed, there were no jobs to be had…  Those were the days when a person who was the first in her family to attend college could build her character by mopping floors in a fast food joint at 2am, stay up until 4am studying and fall asleep in psych 101 at 8am the next morning.  It made me the old, bitter, uneducated (with a degree in a hard science) working class (professional researcher) sino-peruvian lesbian I am today!

Grrrr, I need a good aerobics class.

46 Responses

  1. There, there, there. Breathe in, breathe out., Good in, bad out.

  2. Yesterday at Thanksgiving I was having a conversation with someone about taxes. I was saying how I didn’t believe a couple making $300,000 here in the Bay Area was rich – perhaps comfortable. That through hard work, etc they made it to a financial level where they could put money away for college, provide a good education for their kids, not have to worry day to day about certain things. Help out family members, put money away for retirement, etc.

    Obot says — I think it’s too much money and they probably have a mercedes benz…….

    Converstaion goes something like this —

    simofish – So, what – they worked for it, why shouldn’t they buy a car they want – didn’t you move out here to Tracy, CA to have a better life for your kids? You couldn’t buy a house in San Francisco – but you could buy a nice one here. So, should we make you live in a smaller house?

    Obot – Everyone should be paying their taxes

    simofish- I agree, but those who don’t shouldn’t get a “stimulus” check. We shouldn’t raise taxes either. I don’t trust the gov’t with my money.

    Obot – Then you should move to another country if you don’t like this one. I am a PATRIOT. (does that not sound like Joe Biden?)

    simofish – I don’t believe in spreading the wealth – I am single and don’t have all those “married with kids” deductions – I think I have paid my fair share – I can disagree with the gov’t and still be a true American. That’s what democracy is – freedom.

  3. Simofish: My brother is convinced that Obama is a socialist and Biden is a liberal spender. LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!

    Actually, I don’t mind spending a little more in taxes. I just hate the huge increases in property taxes that I fear are coming. I do agree with you about subsidizing married people though. I have a kid and I pay more in taxes than a married person even though I get the deduction every other year. No matter how I calculate it with TurboTax, there is absolutely no way I get the same tax breaks as a married person and I *do* feel that this is an inequity that needs to be corrected as soon as humanly possible. It isn’t fair that people who can’t be part of a legally recognized couple ends up paying more every fricking year even though our expenses are sometimes greater. Single parents really get the shaft. Sucks. BIG time.

  4. I don’t get how folks didn’t see this coming – I saw it coming. Not to this magnitude – granted.

    I don’t think Congress or the Senate knows WTF to do. They are grasping at straws.

    Only a few short weeks ago when Wells Fargo wanted more time to look at the books of Wachovia the Feds were pressuring CitiCorp to marry Wachovia — when I knew CitiCorp was in huge trouble. I knew because I read the WSJ everyday — they had talked about CitiCorp a year ago.

    SO — WTF?

  5. New Jersey is already high in property taxes so is CA. Our state is $7B in debt and we just passed “Prop 1” to build a super fast train to LA which will cost at least $1B — I love public transportation — but we don’t have the money. I NEVER spend more than I can afford and if our gov’t would do a bit more of that …..

    Why not better schools ?? In South Korea 80% of kids go on to college. They have a national test day (SAT’s) — no one can drive on the road until 9:00 AM – only kids going to take the test. The Electric company has an engineer at all testing places. No school that day for younger kids. No planes flying during certain times.

    I would love to see my money go to making the best school in the world.

  6. Simofish … you gotta put your tinfoil hat on .. 🙂

  7. RD – Two hours of exercise? I wouldn’t need a sauna after that, I’d need an ambulance. 🙂

    Nothing like a sweat and a steam to purify the body of Obot poison. Have a great time!

  8. simofish: NJ is also deeply in debt AND a lot of this state’s economy revolves around the finance industry and Wall Street- which is shedding workers right now.
    Somebody has to pay for the mediocre schools.

  9. madamb: it’ll be more like half hour on eliptical, 20 minutes free weights/abs, 20 minutes in the pool “walking” (my sister doesn’t want to do laps) and the rest of the time in the sauna. It won’t be too much.
    I forgot my exercise gear so I get to sweat in hers.

  10. Talk about bad schools. SE FL has some of the highest property taxes, and Florida is 49th in education. Our best best is to hope that Guam and Puerto Rico become states so that we can become third from the bottom.

  11. Just took a blueberry pie out of the oven — trading it for a live tree which I will then donate to a family.

    Riverdaughter — problem is …. we have too much wasteful spending. Look at how much we spend on sports. Taxpayers pay for new stadiums, that’s crazy. Or we pay for Rezko and others to fix urban housing and he pockets the money.
    Corruption / greed is rampant and it’s caught up to Wall Street and the rest of America.

    I have not turned on the news to see how long the lines are at outlet malls.

    I am going outside to rake leaves – they just dumped my recycle bin and now I can gill it back up. Be back later to lurk.

  12. Simo:

    CA is a low property tax state IF you bought your property BEFORE Prop 13 took effect back in 1978.

  13. Madabab said: RD – Two hours of exercise? I wouldn’t need a sauna after that, I’d need an ambulance.

    I had a similar thought but mine was “I’d need CPR”

  14. Pacemaker.

  15. http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Taxes/Advice/PropertyTaxesWhereDoesYourStateRank.aspx

    NJ is number one in property taxes (these numbers are from 2006).

    My mother has lived in an unimproved ranch house here since 1956. She’s 92 and lives on a fixed income. Her taxes are now $7,000 per year. Something’s gotta give.

  16. omg, on Long Island a throng of shoppers broke down the doors of a Walmart at 5 am and stampeded over a worker, who DIED. yikes……..it’s getting scary out in the real world. this is very sad.

  17. myiq — No kidding. I bought my 900sf bungalow in a bad neighborhood in 2002. Guess who paid more in property taxes: me or long-time residents of Beverly Hills?

  18. adding: a bad neighborhood in LA. I sold that house at the VERY LAST MINUTE before the crash and now live in Oregon, where I am paying even more in property taxes even though the house here is worth less. I cannot win.

  19. Sigh. Actually for many folks there is a “marriage penalty” tax. I.e., two single people each making $X salary filing of course separately get taxed less than do two married people
    filing jointly each making $X salary. If you two are married filing singly you get taxed higher. Least I’ve found that the case for my/our income taxes for all the years I’ve filed. It only seems to work out better married if there is a big income discrepancy between the spouses. This is for Federal taxes.

  20. The video is depressing. So many pundits incapable of noticing and thinking about evidence. We sue medical doctors when they ignore evidence to this extent.

  21. That’s a great clip. Schiff should send it out with his holiday cards. It’s much more entertaining than most of the holiday letters that I get.

    simofish, I agree that a $300,000 annual income in some parts of the country is not wealthy because of housing costs. OTOH, a lot of people who pay a large percentage of their income in payroll taxes are part of the working force in this country and can be depended upon to spend stimulus package money or, at least, using it to pay down credit card debt.

    Stay away from the malls. A squad needed to respond to treat people injured in a stampede at our local outlet mall.

    Your barter sounds great.

  22. urgetocompute,
    I posted before I saw your comment. I’m in full “I told you so” mode these days so I see the tape as vindication for Schiff.

  23. JeanLouise, Nassib Taleb (author of The Black Swan) has many relevant remarks about the apparent inability of seemingly intelligent people to think, and consider what, really, the evidence is telling them. “Experts” outside thier narrow area of expertise, are no more likely to think about evidence than anyone esle. “Opinion” is not worth a pinch of camel dung. In the mad-cow diseae ourtbreak in Britain, when I was there, government officals gave their “expert” opinion that beef was safe to eat. Did the prions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prion) care about expert opinion? No – they just did their work and destroyed people’s brains anyway.

    The “unexpected” financial crash – spoken about many moons before by Hillary – scared people enough for them to vote Republicans out of office.

    The same opinionated, non-thinking mode of being was, and is, evident in the behavior of fanatical BO supporters. Evidence counts not one whit to them, once their minds are made up, and they know what they know. Evidence, shmevidence. Bwahahahaha. What fools are those thinking people!

    I, for one, will be reading Peter Schiff on a daily basis, and then thinking, hard, about what evidence and analyses he presents.

  24. Why isn’t Peter Schiff on the economic team?

  25. tpt/ny,: he relies on evidence, he thinks, he tells he truth. Damned chap won’t play the game!



    Highly appropriate that Laffer didn’t see this coming. Pampers doesn’t understand the Laffer Curve. They should go on a picnic.

  27. back from raking leaves on 1 side of my house — stopped in for a quick fix.

    My property taxes are $10,000 per year – not as bad as New Jersey – but still crazy. Then I have property insurance and earthquake insurance – yikes.

    This is my 4th home and because I made money on the other 3 I was able to buy here in the Bay Area.

    December 4th I find out if I still have a job. If not — back to 3 jobs to make sure I stay in my wonderful home until I can work my way into what I am making now. I also help out my niece who is dirt poor along with my sister. I would rather give them money for everyday living then give it to the Gov’t to waste on Obama’s caviar and champagne.


  28. tpt/ny, on November 28th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    good question. maybe someone should tell the best president evah.

    I think Hillary warned Paulson and company that if they only bailed out wall street and didn’t look at the causes of the crisis they would be back asking for more money

  29. I just saw the TV crawl about the employee stomped to death at the Wal-Mart. (it just absolutely made my skin crawl)

    I’m not going out there to buy anything. If I can’t get it online it won’t be got.

    I need a teevee for the momster so I’ll get it online at Amazon. It’s the cheapest price I found, qualifies for free shipping and no sales tax.

  30. December 4th I find out if I still have a job.

    simofish, am keeping fingers crossed you will keep your job.

    (why do they always do this shit before Christmas?)

  31. Riverdaughter,

    Thanks for mentioning school. I’m a full-time grad student, and loans are already drying up. For the last year major student loans have been several months late in arriving, and now people are being denied the loans they’ve been counting on. Tuition is going to go up again, my husband’s job is less secure than ever, we’re paying $1300 for a 750 sq. ft. apartment across the street from a methadone clinic. The only reason we have health insurance is my husband’s job, and my parents (who are helping significantly with tuition) are starting to feel the burn all the way over in Australia. The only bright spot on the horizon is that if we have to, we can move back to Canada. If we get priced out of the rentals market, we’ll have to.

    BTW- Econ wonks, what effect do you think all of this will have on the rentals market? Seattle’s downtown is flooded with empty luxury condos, and there are still more on their way up, but nobody is dropping prices or opening them up for rental yet. Meanwhile, rent keeps creeping up, and as houses get foreclosed upon and people can’t buy new houses, presumably the market will be flooded with new renters. What’s going to happen there?

  32. So, why isn’t this Peter Schiff tapped to be Treasury Secretary?

  33. Wow! This man is/and has been, spot on.

    Las Vegas is among the top 5 in the country on foreclosures. Our entire economy revolves around the casino industry and last month, 10,000 people were laid off. Home values skyrocketed in 2004/2005 with bidding wars doubling (at least) the real value of the home. Average wage was $40,000, you couldn’t get an average home in a decent area for less than $400,000 because of speculators. A year before you could buy a new home in a new development for $200,000.

    On the flip side, the apartment we lived in back in 2005 increased our rent by $400/month (a 50% increase), we found a very nice house to rent for the same price. Then the owner got a divorce and he had to sell the home, so we found a nice apartment with a great view, half the space, but half the utlilities. My lease is up and I was very, very worried about how much the increase was going to be. Now I know things are getting really bad here because to my shock, my rent will be $35/m less, with a 1 year lease option.

    This is the first time in 15 years that I’ve rented here that I’ve received a discount on my rent.

  34. Sandra, on those luxury condos, do you think the CC&Rs forbid rentals? Some of the developments we looked at stated you were not allowed to rent out the home.

  35. I still say the best bailout would be to give a large stimulus to the people. (just not the frickin morons who kill people to save $50 on an ipod! )

  36. mhlv,
    No idea. We’d buy a house except our rent is so high and grad school is so expensive that we can’t afford to save up a down-payment. It’s almost enough to make me wish we’d jumped on the no-down-mortgage boat while it was an option.

  37. We should HOPE Obama can do for the US what Reagan did.

    America Just Prior to the Reagan Administration

    1. Seven million Americans were unemployed.

    2. Americans went through two of the worst years of inflation in 60 years. There was a 13% inflation rate. Family income dropped and we had the highest tax bill in our history.

    3. We were on the verge of a major recession.

    America After the Reagan Administration

    1. President Reagan’s economic policies stimulated the economy, creating 17 million new jobs. One-fourth of the new jobs were created in 68 consecutive months. Black unemployment was cut in half.

    2. The inflation rate decreased to less than 4.4%. Family income rose 12%.

    3. We had the longest and strongest peacetime prosperity in the history of the nation.

  38. I was at a local mall today in the Boston area. I arrived at 2:00 and got a parking space about 30 ft from the door to Macy’s. The crowds weren’t any bigger than a normal Sunday afternoon. Lots of good sales, but not a lot of customers. I don’t usually go shopping on Black Friday, but the BFF called and said the stores weren’t crowded, and our favorite store had a 30% off everything sale.

  39. “We should HOPE Obama can do for the US what Reagan did”


    Where is the scotch….

  40. Oh yeah, Reagan was… There’s not enough booze in the world for me to praise Reagan.

  41. “There’s not enough booze in the world for me to praise Reagan.”

    Yes! I’m not seeing things!

    ..was wondering if Thanksgiving had been rougher than I thought…

  42. The correlation between the war and this money melt down is exact . They purposely do not put those in charge who know WTF about anything. They WANT the chaos, the fowl ups, the clutter fuck.

    You do not get unending no bid contracts or open end bail out if things are working.

    This scam will work as long as people are fooled into thinking the upper crust actully wants things to run well….they do not. They have left the ” don’t kill the goose that lays a golden egg ” phase, the one where you leave something for the lower orders to live on so they can continue to generate wealth for you and are now on to the straight up goose dinner phase, where they simply take everything. They are cashing out , shutting down and looting everything they can .

    Do not look for anything to be fixed, while there is a single trillion yet to be stolen ….. Look for more “who knew?” as the looting goes unchecked and in four years time, look for General Petraeus to be a GOP candidate.

  43. I lost my job (the one I struggled to work my way up to for about 5 years) during the Reagan Recession! GOOO TIMES!!!! (NOT)

  44. What about the HUGE deficit that started with the Reagan admin as related to defense spending? What about his refusual to fund for AIDS research when AIDS was making headlines? The 80s are remembered for some pretty high inflation rates under his term too. I do give him credit for cutting the taxes though.

    Prayer in schools? what about the separation of church and state? what happened to that?

    Reagan’s style of supply sider econ is a little shaky in my opinon. It did more worse than good initally but then again what do presidents have to do with the economy?

    give him credit for the increases in tech sector through the military.

    Reaganomics: the process by which republicans will destroy the economy, put people at unneccessary risk and unneccessary war, and **** up the middle east even more.

  45. What the hell were all the economist doing all this time, we saw it coming how come they just sat on the sidelines and did nothing. The new govt. can’t do much as we’ll have to deal with large corporates all begging for FREE tax payer money!

  46. your articles are interesting and so useful for me. Thank you for sharing great information.

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